Tolukuma claim case reinstated

A claim case of K1 million that was filed in 2006 over an alleged spillage of sodium cyanide into rivers in the Goilala District has been reinstated in the National Court.

The Supreme Court reinstated the case after it was dismissed on 9 April 2014.    

It was filed by James Gabe and hundreds of locals in the Goilala District against Tolukuma Gold Mine Ltd.

The full court, in a unanimous decision, found the National Court erroneously dismissed it on the basis there was a delay of seven years in prosecuting the case.     

The court was of the view that Gabe and the other plaintiffs were guilty of a “lack of communication with the defendant’s legal advisers and generally a lackadaisical (careless) attitude to what were purportedly serious allegations and claims”.  

Gabe filed for review in the Supreme Court. Leave was granted on 8 March 2017 and the case was successfully reinstated yesterday for the National Court to hear.

The case was also earlier dismissed for failure to comply with directions of the National Court but was reinstated in 2009 by the Supreme Court following a successful appeal.

In April 2013, an unsuccessful mediation took place at Doa, Central Province, where it was agreed and sanctioned by the National Court that parties would have a further three months to negotiate an out of court settlement.

Following the failed mediation, a motion to dismiss the case was filed in Oct 2013 by the mine, leading to its second dismissal, this time for want of prosecution.

The Supreme Court took a close analysis of the events that took place in the six-month period between the failed mediation and filing of the dismissal motion and concluded that the National Court would have formed a different view of Gabe’s explanation over the delay.

The reinstatement of the case was allowed and order for dismissal quashed.

The case will return before a judge in the Civil Court. 

Sally Pokiton